Prince Albert was born in the tiny German principality of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha on August 26, 1819. He would go on to become one of the most important figures of the 19th century, as the husband of Queen Victoria and as a leader in European affairs.
Though his life was cut tragically short by typhoid fever at the age of 42, Prince Albert left a lasting legacy both as a royal consort and as a patron of many charities.
Prince Albert was the second son of Ernest I, Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, and his wife Louise. As a child, he showed a keen interest in politics and science, and excelled at mathematics and languages. In 1836, he was sent to England to study at the University of Oxford.
Marriage to Queen Victoria
When her uncle, King William IV, died in 1837, Victoria became queen of England.
She was quickly arranged to marry her cousin Prince Albert, and the two were married on February 12, 1840. The marriage was a happy one, and the couple went on to have nine children:
Princess Victoria – Born 1841. Married her first cousin, Frederick III, king of Prussia.
Albert Edward (Edward VII) – Born 1842. Became king of the United Kingdom in 1901.
Princess Alice – Born 1843. Married her first cousin, Louis IV, grand duke of Hesse and by Rhine.
Prince Alfred – Born 1844. Died at the age of 31 from pneumonia.
Prince Arthur – Born 1845. Married his first cousin, Princess Louise of Prussia.
Prince Leopold – Born 1853. Died at the age of 31 from meningitis.
Princess Helena – Born 1846. Married her uncle, Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein.
Princess Beatrice – Born 1857 . Married her cousin, Prince Henry of Battenberg.
Prince George – Born 1845. Died at the age of one from meningitis.
As the queen’s consort, Prince Albert took an active role in the British government, serving as a trusted advisor to his wife. He also helped to promote trade and industry in Britain and was a patron of many charities. Prince Albert was a keen scientist and mathematician.
Prince Albert died of typhoid fever on December 14, 1861. Victoria was deeply grieved by his death and remained a widow for the rest of her life. In his memory, she founded many schools and hospitals in Britain.
Prince Albert is remembered today as a talented statesman and a loving husband and father. His legacy continues to be felt in the many charities he supported during his lifetime.